Redress - Ending Torture, Seeking Justice for Survivors
Reparation News
13 April 2017
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Dear friends and supporters,

In this newsletter, we provide the latest updates on new filings and ongoing cases. Also in this issue, we highlight our new joint report on universal jurisdiction, which looks back to the application of this principle in 47 cases, an unprecedented success in the fight against impunity. We also welcome the recent adoption of the first-ever regional instrument on the right to redress for victims of torture and other prohibited ill-treatment in Africa, whose development was supported by REDRESS. 

Thanks for your continued interest and support for our mission to help torture survivors.

Best wishes,

Carla Ferstman

Director

You can follow @REDRESSTrust on Twitter or join us on Facebook for all our latest updates.


 

Casework

©BBC

International Women’s Day Plea on Behalf of Women’s Rights Activists

On International Women’s Day, REDRESS renewed its efforts on behalf of Zeinab Jalalian and Magdulein Abaida, two women's rights activists. On 8 March 2017, REDRESS filed a complaint with the UN on behalf of Madgulein, who after being tortured in 2012, had to flee the very Libyan revolution that she helped to bring about. Also on 8 March, REDRESS and Justice for Iran updated the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on Zeinab's situation. Almost a year after WGAD issued a strong opinion in her case demanding her immediate release, Zeinab continues to languish in virtual isolation in an Iranian jail.

Read more on Magdulein’s case

Read more on Zeinab’s case


  

Reparations for victims of the Bogoro massacre

REDRESS welcomes the recent appeals judgment on reparations for victims of the Bogoro massacre in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The judgment, issued by the International Criminal Court on 24 March, came more than 14 years after the attack that claimed the lives of more than 200 civilians and reduced the village of Bogoro to literally nothing, according to witnesses of the attack. REDRESS submitted an amicus curiae brief on reparations to the Court, with some aspects of our intervention being reflected in the order on reparations.

Read more


 

European Court reaffirms States’ obligations towards victims of torture

The European Court of Human Rights has reaffirmed States' obligation to fully investigate allegations of torture and other prohibited ill-treatment, and to provide adequate compensation to victims in Shestopalov v Russia. REDRESS intervened in this case. The Court held that it is not enough to only provide compensation, as it would allow State officials to commit torture with virtual impunity. Similarly, it is not sufficient to only investigate, and not to provide compensation. The two must form part of victims' right to redress. The Court awarded the claimant 48,550 Euros plus tax in compensation.

Read more

Publications

New report on universal jurisdiction

Universal jurisdiction has gathered unprecedented momentum in 2016. In their annual report, REDRESS and partners TRIAL International, FIDH, ECCHR and FIBGAR look back on its application through 47 recent cases in 13 States. Thanks to this principle, States can prosecute criminals regardless of their nationality or where the crime was committed. The report highlights how universal jurisdiction has proven to be a significant tool against impunity in Syria, Rwanda, Nepal, Guatemala and Iraq, among other countries.

Download the report

Advocacy work

 

©Eskinder Debebe

A milestone for the protection of victims in Africa

The first-ever regional instrument on the right to redress for victims of torture and other prohibited ill-treatment in Africa was recently adopted. The new General Comment on the Right to Redress for Victims of Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment or Treatment offers much needed clarification to African Member States on their obligations towards victims. REDRESS and partners provided technical support during the development of the General Comment. The General Comment will be formally launched on 9 May at the African Commission’s Ordinary Session in Niger. During this session, REDRESS will hold a series of events, including on reparation in post-conflict situations, the right to redress for torture, and on the situation in Sudan.

Read our press statement


  

REDRESS Nederland meets with the EU Genocide Network

Nader Diab and Jürgen Schurr from REDRESS Nederland participated in a recent meeting of the EU Genocide Network. The meeting brought together investigators and prosecutors working on international crimes from EU Member States and Norway, Switzerland, the US and Canada. German and Swedish authorities presented on their efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes committed in Syria. REDRESS Nederland has been working with the EU Genocide Network Secretariat to ensure that civil society perspectives are reflected in their work and is now working on a report on victim participation in the investigation and prosecution of international crimes by Dutch authorities in Syria.

Download the Conclusions of the Meeting


 

Submissions to the Committee Against Torture 

REDRESS together with other human rights organisations has submitted joint observations on the draft revised General Comment No. 1 (2017) on the implementation of Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture (prohibition to remove someone to a risk of torture or other prohibited treatment). The revised General Comment will be a critically important tool for States parties in implementing Article 3 by providing guidance on the full scope of their obligations in relation to the prohibition of refoulement under the Convention. See the joint NGO comments here.

REDRESS has also submitted observations to the Committee Against Torture ahead of its examination of the Third Periodic Report of Bahrain, including detailed information regarding Bahrain’s responsibility for the torture of Jawad Fairooz, a former Bahraini parliamentarian who is a client of REDRESS.

Read more about the case

Trainings and events

Training in Myanmar and event in Tunisia 

In March, REDRESS and the Institute for International Criminal Investigations held a five-day workshop with local civil society organisations in Myanmar on documenting gender-based violence. The goal was to increase understanding of gender-based violence and to enhance documentation skills. Also in March, REDRESS held an event to launch the Technical Commentary on the Anti-Torture Framework in Tunisia together with the Organisation Contre la Torture en Tunisie and Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture. Participants included representatives of the National Preventive Mechanism and the Ministry of Justice, and civil society actors. Participants discussed gaps in the current legal framework to prevent torture and assessed the implementation of recent legislative reforms, including forms of reparation available to victims of torture in Tunisia and access to justice for female torture victims. Download the Technical Commentary here (in French). 

Farewell to a dear colleague

 
Legal Advisor Kevin Laue retires

We recently bid a fond farewell to our dear colleague and long-serving legal advisor Kevin Laue, who has retired after almost 15 years at REDRESS. A Zimbabwean human rights lawyer, Kevin joined REDRESS in 2002, after working in private practice in that country for 18 years. At REDRESS, Kevin provided direct legal support to hundreds of torture survivors; led our advocacy work in the UK and was a mentor to many other legal practitioners who sought to litigate torture cases. Originally from South Africa, Kevin worked previously for the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa in London, and was an active member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. He was also the founder and former chair of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Kevin will be deeply missed, but we wish him all the very best in his retirement. 

Support our runners

London Legal Walk and British 10K

This May #TeamREDRESS is walking 10 kilometres during the London Legal Walk  to raise much needed funds to provide life changing legal advice and support. All victims of torture must have an opportunity to access justice, and the services we offer are free from charge.

If you would be interested in walking with us on 22 May for a very worthy cause (and don’t forget the free drink at the end), then make sure to send an email to nora@redress.org! Please visit our Virgin Money Giving webpage and give as much as you can to encourage walkers on their way.

Also, please do not miss a chance to register your interest to run for REDRESS at the ultimate British 10K! It is the fastest way to tour central London’s famous landmarks from Piccadilly to Whitehall with a route that races past Regent Street, Trafalgar Square, the Embankment, Westminster Bridge and Westminster Abbey. Contact nora@redress.org and reserve your place!

REDRESS 87 Vauxhall Walk, London
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